UK Government’s support for employment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

September 25, 2020

The UK government has constructed its Winter Economy Plan to support workers and businesses affected by the COVID-19 crisis. The Winter Economy Plan outlines the measures to support citizens and businesses as the country recovers from the economic aftermath of the pandemic and drive growth across the UK.

Further support for employment 

The government had placed measures to support jobs and employment that are now due to end over the autumn. As such, the government is introducing new schemes that will reinforce the objective of preventing fading, maintaining strong employment relationships between workers and firms, and supporting the self-employed while ensuring that businesses can adapt and evolve to the prolonged challenge of COVID-19.

The Winter Economy Plan includes measures support employment in the UK, namely Job Support Scheme and the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS).

The new Job Support Scheme will start from 1 November 2020 for six months is open to all employers with a UK bank account and a UK PAYE scheme. This scheme has several requirements. Eligible employees must work at least 33% of their usual hours. For every hour not worked, the employer and the government will each pay one-third of the employee’s usual pay, but the government contribution will be at most £697.92 per month. Employees using the scheme will receive at least 77% of their pay, where the government contribution has not been capped. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be eligible, while large enterprises are expected to show that their businesses have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

Another government intervention to support employment is the SEISS Grant Extension, which will last for six months, from November 2020 to April 2021. The SEISS Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed. Qualified individuals must currently be eligible for the SEISS and are actively continuing to trade but are facing reduced demand due to COVID-19. Two taxable grants will facilitate this extension; the first grant will cover 20% of average monthly trading profits paid out in a single installment covering three months’ (November 1 to January 31) worth of profits but capped at a total of £1,875. Whereas the second grant will cover a three-month period from the start of February until the end of April.


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